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Project title: 

Learning. Pleasure. Agency.

Notes on A/I (artistic intelligence) and digital dramaturgy as experimental performance

with a contribution by Anna Christiansen (student, University of Hildesheim)

Moderated by Anna Christiansen and Thanh Vi Pham Nguyen ( Academy of Fine Arts, Munich)

Thursday, Sept.30, 2021. 6am EDT. 12pm CET

Some thoughts

A decade ago, the (male) battle cry for agency and power in the ever evolving, drastically accelerating and massively confusing digital age of globalized capitalism was: program or be programmed. This idea could be – not in the most sophisticated way – translated into: learn (yourself) or be taught (by others). Politically in terms of power dynamics it could translate into: rule or be ruled. What’s missing in these quick handed equations are ideas of reciprocity, shared responsibility, active and ongoing negotiations of power and agency, solidarity, relationship building, knowledge-making and sharing, friendship and the risky and very time-consuming willingness to engage with perspectives and knowledges that exist outside our immediate radar or are only present in stereotypical or (un)consciously biased ways.

To talk about bias in AI or artificial intelligence systems, built right into the very algorithms that apparently make our everyday digital devices smart (from phones to MRI scanners to Covid vaccines to surveillance systems to computer-controlled sound and light in theatres and sports arenas) is not a conversation about technology. Rather, it is a critical debate - a round table debate - about the transfer mechanisms of disparate and desperate human value systems and their origins and current configurations: culturally, historically, politically, economically. Why does AI programming struggle so much with racist, misogynist, homophobe, class-based, agist and ableist bias and stereotypes? Programming, coding and algorithmic design reflect quite clearly the conflicts and power hierarchies present in the societies by which programmers and users are conditioned. Living in a racist society will make it quite likely that algorithms of artificial intelligence systems can also be racist. The question then becomes, will I be complicit and reinforce such embedded stabilizers of often unjust, unequal, environmentally self-destructive systems or do I want to engage in the slow and critical life-long labor of shared power and shared knowledge making? Will I own the process rather than the product?

In my presentation – enriched by the collaborative contribution of a student – Anna Christiansen - I will share some ideas about the labor of knowledge making, digital skill development, laughter/critical doubt and research creation by engaging with ideas of A/I or artistic intelligence and digital dramaturgy as experimental performance as it evolves in process-based ways in the Digital Dramaturgy Labsquared.

Short Bio see HERE

documenta fifteen: project CAMP notes on education.

Lecture Series : Arts - Cultures- Policies - Educational Practices. Concepts and approaches worldwide

Curated by Julius Heinicke (UNESCO chair holder for cultural policy at the University of Hildesheim), and Ernst Wagner (project Exploring Visual Cultures / Academy of Fine Arts Munich) 

In collaboration with documenta fifteen in 2022, education and art mediationSusanne Hesse-Badibanga (head of department) , Camp project coordination: Katharina Hilgert

Budde photo_Voijin Vasovic.jpeg

Photo by: Vojin Vasovic

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